Dave K. Banerjea 2015-02-24 00:06:37
Calibrating measurement and test equipment (M&TE) is expensive, but using measurement and test equipment that is out of calibration can be even more costly. Equipment that is out of calibration will produce suspect parts and once you’ve discovered that your M&TE is out of calibration, you will have to screen the suspect parts and repair or scrap the parts that are not in spec. If you have already shipped the parts to a customer, you may have to recall them. Is it possible to ensure that your M&TE is properly calibrated and keep calibration costs low? Yes. By establishing realistic calibration specifications, keeping good calibration records and analyzing the measurements, you can set up an optimum calibration interval for each piece of equipment that you use. The best step you can take to eliminate the drudgery of both the record keeping and data analysis effort is to identify and implement a commercially available calibration management software solution. THE MODERN APPROACH TO CALIBRATION MANAGEMENT Using modern calibration management software can help you keep better records and often provide critical analysis tools. As technicians perform calibrations, they enter the measurements directly into a computer database using computerized forms in the program. Once entered, this data is continually available and you can easily use the information to calculate equipment measurement uncertainties, identify stability problems and perform gage R&R studies. Some software packages will also allow you to automatically adjust calibration intervals. GAGEtrak, a leading calibration management software solution for example, in addition to using Method A3 also uses the widely recognized NCSL guideline RP-1, Method A1, the Simple Response Method, to calculate calibration intervals based on calibration data. Using this method, a calibration lab first tests an instrument to see if it is within tolerance. If it is, GAGEtrak lengthens the calibration interval for the instrument. If the instrument is not within tolerance, it shortens the calibration interval. The amount of adjustment in these scenarios is defined By the user within the software settings. GAGEtrak also allows you modify the rules it uses to adjust the calibration intervals. For example, you may feel more comfortable lengthening the calibration interval after the second or third time the lab finds an instrument’s calibration to be in tolerance. For those shops that want a more comprehensive look at how specific families of gages are performing, GAGEtrak also supports the more complex A3 Frequency Adjustment method. Using this method, you set the calibration interval for a whole group of gages using the calibration results of all of the gages in a group. This method gives you a more statistically significant sample, which in turn should give you more confidence in your calibration intervals. Whether simply keeping better tabs on your M&TE bottom line or pursuing a more comprehensive approach to managing your measurement systems, employing an effective calibration management software solution is the only way to assure that your organization produces the best quality of products with the minimum of associated calibration expenses.
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